The Appointments Committee of Parliament has eventually cleared Kyaka South Member of Parliament Jackson Kafuuzi Karugaba to take on the position of deputy Attorney General.
Mr Kafuuzi was appointed during President Museveni’s latest cabinet reshuffle, announced in December 2019, to take on a position hitherto occupied by Rushenyi County Mwesigwa Rukutana.
However, his approval was deferred after the appointments committee chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga questioned his experience as an advocate of the High Court.
According to the Ugandan Constitution, a person shall not be qualified to be appointed Deputy Attorney General unless he or she is qualified to practice as an advocate of the High Court and has practised or gained the necessary experience for not less than seven years.
But Mr Kafuuzi has maintained that he has an experience spanning 13 years and challenged the argument that the absence of an advocates certificate, presented a lacuna in his competency. Mr Kafuuzi is said to have last renewed his practising certificate as an advocate for the High court in 2015.
In an earlier interview with this reporter, he said; one does not need a practising certificate unless they are going to court.
“If I am going to do research, if I am going to draft pleadings, if I am going to do law reporting, if I am going to negotiate contracts, if I am going to sit on the legal and Parliamentary affairs committee, I do not need a practicing certificate,” Kafuuzi said.
This reporter has learnt that the High Court, where the Speaker of Parliament had sought an opinion and Parliament's legal counsel have cleared Kafuuzi.
According to Members of the Appointments Committee, Mr Kafuuzi provided several other documents to support his work experience and was more composed and answered questions ably.
Nakaseke South MP Paulson Luttamaguzi Semakula says that the last time Kafuuzi failed to answer crucial questions, and didn’t have documents backing him.
Mr Kafuuzi told journalists that he managed to convince the committee about his experience, and that he specifically cleared the air on the issues of the practicing certificates, adding that the court has already confirmed that he is an advocate with practicing experience.
“Technically speaking, certificates are not a prerequisite.… For some areas, practicing certificates are not required but it's important for the committee to inquire into those areas because you're going to be an Attorney General who is required to practice,” he said.
He said the other issue raised today was his experience and cases he has handled over the year. Mr Kafuuzi barely spent 30 minutes of interacting with the committee.
"You know they asked me that question when I appeared before the committee and I told them it was difficult for me to start listing cases. The biggest case I have ever handled was a petition by an NGO called HURINET to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). We were challenging the trial of civilians in the military.....we got the judgment in 2018. The committee is not answerable to me; it's answerable to the president so I will just keep my fingers crossed," he said.
Mr Kafuuzi graduated with a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University in 2002 and obtained a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre in 2003. From that time, he has been in service as a Legal Officer and later as an Advocate at Rwakafuuzi & Co. Advocates, until 2016 when he joined parliament.